Illinois Gun Laws
Learn about gun control laws, gun permit requirements, and penalties in Illinois.
In Illinois, you must obtain a handgun license, known as a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card to purchase and possess a gun. Until 2012, state law prohibited carrying a gun (openly or concealed) outside of one’s home, but a federal appellate court decided that the law violated the Second Amendment and struck it down. (Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933 (7th Cir. 2012).) In 2013, Illinois became the last state in the nation to legalize possession and concealed carry of a firearm outside the home and enacted a new law permitting people to carry concealed weapons with a license. (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/1 et seq.) For more information on gun regulations in Illinois, see Open and Concealed Gun Carrying Laws in Illinois and Weapons Charges in Illinois.
How to Obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card in Illinois
To obtain a FOID card, you must submit an application to the state police department. (You can find the application from the state police website.) To qualify for a FOID card, you must be:
- at least 21 years old, or at least 18 with written parental consent (and a parent who is eligible for a FOID card)
- a U.S. citizen or legal resident, and
- eligible to obtain and possess a firearm under federal law.
Additionally, you must NOT be:
- a convicted felon
- a minor convicted of certain misdemeanors, crimes that would be felonies if committed by an adult, or who has been adjudicated delinquent
- addicted to certain controlled substances, or
- “mentally impaired” or “intellectually disabled."
People who have been committed to a mental hospital or adjudicated mentally defective within the last five years, or convicted of certain domestic or violent crimes are also ineligible for FOID cards. (405 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/1-116; 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 65/8.)
A valid FOID card does not authorize the holder to carry a concealed weapon, however a FOID card is a prerequisite for obtaining a concealed weapon license.
Does Illinois Recognize Concealed Handgun Licenses From Other States?
No. Illinois does not recognize concealed carry licenses from other states. However, residents of Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin, and non-Illinois residents from any state with a valid non-Illinois resident hunting license may purchase (but not carry) certain types of weapons and ammunition in Illinois. However, they must bat least 18 years old and not otherwise prohibited by law (Illinois law, federal law, or the laws of the non-Illinois resident’s state) from obtaining or possessing a firearm. For more information on prohibited purchasers in Illinois, see Open and Concealed Gun Carrying Laws in Illinois. (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 65/3a.)
It is a class A misdemeanor to possess a weapon without a FOID card if you are otherwise eligible to obtain a FOID card. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both. A second or subsequent violation of this type is a class 4 felony, which incurs a fine of up to $25,000, at least one year (and up to three years) in prison, or both. (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 65/14(b).)
It is a class 3 felony to possess a weapon without a FOID card when you are not otherwise eligible to obtain a FOID card. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, at least two (and up to five) years in prison, or both. A third or subsequent violation of this type is a class 1 felony, which incurs a fine of up to $25,000, at least six (and up to 30) years in prison, or both. (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 65/14(c).) For more information on sentencing in Illinois, see Illinois Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences and Illinois Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Getting Legal Help
If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to obtain and possess a gun in Illinois, or if you are facing charges for a gun possession violation, consult an Illinois criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can explain the law and tell you how to protect your rights.